Modeling the impact of climate change on watershed discharge and sediment yield in the black soil region, northeastern China


Climate change is expected to impact discharge and sediment yield in watersheds. The purpose of this paper is to assess the potential impacts of climate change on water discharge and sediment yield for the Yi’an watershed of the black soil region, northeastern China, based on the newly released Representative Concentration Pathways (RCPs) during 2071–2099. For this purpose, the TETIS model was implemented to simulate the hydrological and sedimentological responses to climate change. The model calibration (1971–1977) and validation (1978–1987) performances were rated as satisfactory. The modeling results for the four RCP scenarios relative to the control scenario under the same land use configuration indicated an increase in discharge of 16.3% (RCP 2.6), 14.3% (RCP 4.5), 36.7% (RCP 6.0) and 71.4% (RCP 8.5) and an increase in the sediment yield of 16.5% (RCP 2.6), 32.4% (RCP 4.5), 81.8% (RCP 6.0) and 170% (RCP 8.5). This implies that the negative impact of climate change on sediment yield is generally greater than that on discharge. At the monthly scale, both discharge and sediment yield increased dramatically in April to June and August to September. A more vigorous hydrological cycle and an increase in high values of sediment yield are also expected. These changes in annual discharge and sediment yield were closely linked with changes in precipitation, whereas monthly changes in late spring and autumn were mainly related to temperature. This study highlights the possible adverse impact of climate change on discharge and sediment yield in the black soil region of northeastern China and could provide scientific basis for adaptive management.

Geomorphology, 293, 255-271
Zhiying Li
Zhiying Li
Postdoctoral Research Associate